Wednesday 28 September 2016

The public bites back over data

Michael Cullen

Published 10/12/2015 | 02:30

Fiona Heffernan, Linda Ni Chulladh and Ken McKenzie at An Post Smarter Thinking
Fiona Heffernan, Linda Ni Chulladh and Ken McKenzie at An Post Smarter Thinking

Consumers are no longer blind to the value marketers place on data and the profits which can be made from the use of stored and distilled consumer information. Speaking at an industry seminar, An Post lawyer and data protection doyenne Linda Ní Chualladh said the days when consumers were powerless as to what companies can do with their data are history.

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Consumers became increasingly frustrated when they asked that the photos they put up on social media be deleted, only to find they were in archives. Ordinary folk challenged government agreements on data protection and enforced changes worldwide. The law is catching up with the ruling - a feat achieved not by data scientists, but by a student.

Data is "bits of people", not a metric or cold statistic. It's "the new oil" where personal details are commoditised. Consumers are asking the question - how come we don't get anything out of this? 'Big data' is a term bandied about a lot these days. Ní Chualladh says it just means "lots of data" with more responsibility demanded of its users.

Marketers need to wake up to the fact that consumers don't like you. They know what you've done with their data and that you've failed to reward them. They don't want to be your friend - just give them the ring. Consumers are becoming like banks, recognising the debit and credit data balance.

A single consumer complaint can mean two years of investigations. Imagine the manpower and resources spent investigating one complaint for a data breach. Every marketer's worst nightmare is hearing the words "Joe Duffy" and a 'Liveline' researcher asking to talk on the phone. The cloud is not some angelic, white fluffy thing. It's more like a big black box storing infomation somewhere out in Sandyford Industrial Estate.

Companies must comply with the laws, know where data is stored and learn to expect the unexpected. Dr Ken McKenzie, strategic planning director at Target McConnells, says most marketers do not use big data properly. McKenzie believes it's largely down to them refusing to extend their skill sets and adopt a scientific approach.

Fiona Heffernan, head of An Post's media unit, is pictured top with speakers Ní Chualladh and McKenzie at the Smarter Thinking breakfast in the Westbury Hotel.

* November saw two major sports sponsorship renewals as Chill Insurance wasn't slow in coming forward again to back the Cork senior and under 21s football and hurling teams, while Three mobile signed up to the FAI footballers until 2002, Core Media's sponsorship agency Livewire reports.

With the 2016 Euros finals on the way, Three's extension also covers the qualifiers for World Cup 2018 in Russia and the Euro finals two years later, due to come to Ireland for the first time. The deal is worth almost €9m and follows Three replacing Vodafone as the Irish rugby team's sponsor from next May.

Volvo signed up as sponsor of the 2016 Round Ireland Yacht Race. But Livewire's Jamie Macken says despite making history by qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games, the Irish hockey team remains without a partner to help capitalise on a year which saw them taking bronze at the European Hockey Championships.

Paralympics Ireland continues to extend its roster, which includes Allianz, Mondelez and OCS as top tier partners. The Paralympic Games runs right after the Olympics. The 2008 games in Beijing marked a watershed in TV coverage, with a record total audience of 3.8bn and a 200pc increase from Athens 2004.

The Dublin International Film Festival (DIFF) is set to secure a sponsor to replace Jameson, while Christmas FM has stamps of approval from An Post and Lidl. The support amounts to €70k-€90k. Manned by volunteers, Christmas FM raises funds for Make-A-Wish Ireland.

Media deals up for grabs include Graham Norton on UTV Ireland, for an asking price of around €135k. The popular chat show has been sponsored by Electric Ireland. Up for renewal too is Newstalk's Down to Business, which AIB has backed for the last three years, paying out €120k annually. Pictured is Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane with young fan Ruby Davis (9) at a Three photocall.

* Publisher and broadcaster Norah Casey, pictured below, helped launch Focus Ireland's annual Sponsor a Star campaign which this year hopes to raise about €250k through businesses sponsoring a star on the charity's Christmas tree on Grafton Street. The homeless charity wants companies to give a life changing gift and sponsor a star in lieu of sending Christmas cards and corporate gifts.

A former NHS nurse, Casey says 1,500 youngsters and over 800 families have nowhere to call home at Christmas. Demand for services has grown by over 44pc in the last two years. 89c out of every euro raised funds frontline services. Sponsors fees range from a €1,000 bronze star to the Christmas tree topper at €20k.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: cullen@marketing.ie

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